One of the more controversial figures in New York Mets' history is left handed pitcher Tom Glavine. Glavine tormented the Mets for years as a member of the Atlanta Braves' starting rotation. Teaming with future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux and John Smoltz, the three formed a dominant starting unit to help lead Atlanta to nine straight National League East division titles. After 2002, however, Glavine's second half struggles convinced the Braves to let him go in free agency. The Mets scooped him up with a four year, 42.5 million dollar deal to be the ace of their rotation. After struggling in 2003, pitching coach Rick Peterson helped Glavine revitalize his career in 2004. Glavine went on to make two All Star teams with the Mets, in 2004 and 2006.
2004: Glavine revitalized his career in 2004 with the help of pitching coach Rick Peterson. Even though Glavine's 11-14 record only saw a two win improvement over 2003, Glavine's ERA dropped from 4.52 to 3.60 in 2004. Glavine nearly threw a no hitter early in the year against the Colorado Rockies, and his strong first half earned him an All Star appearance. Glavine represented the National League in the 2004 All Star Game, which was held at Houston's Minute Maid Park. Glavine pitched a scoreless seventh inning, but the National League would go on to lose 9-4.
2006: After another good year in 2005, Glavine found himself firmly entrenched as the number two starter behind new ace Pedro Martinez. Glavine went 15-7 with a 3.82 ERA, and his performance helped him earn the 10th and final All Star selection of his brilliant career. Glavine again represented the National League as a reserve pitcher in the 2006 All Star Game, which was held at Pittsburgh's PNC Park. Glavine did not pitch in the game, which was won by the American League 3-2. Glavine would help pitch the Mets into the postseason for the first time since 2000 as National League East Champions. The Mets swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs before falling to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games in the National League Championship Series.
The then 40 year old Glavine re-signed with the Mets in 2007 and recorded his 300th career win on August 5th. Glavine went 13-8 with a 4.45 ERA in 2007, but he will forever be remembered in Queens for his final start as a Met. Glavine took the ball on the last day of the season at Shea Stadium against the Florida Marlins with the Mets in desperate need of a win. The Mets were trying to avoid a collapse to the hard charging Philadelphia Phillies, and needed a win from Glavine to keep their season alive. Glavine had the worst start of his career, giving up seven runs in the top of the first inning while recording only one out. The Mets would go on to lose the game 8-1 and failed to make the playoffs.
When questioned by reporters a few days after the loss, Glavine stated that he wasn't bothered by pitching poorly in the game. The quote infuriated Mets fans, who quickly turned on the veteran left hander. Glavine then declined a 13 million dollar option for 2008 and returned to Atlanta on a one year contract. Glavine would pitch his final game with Atlanta in 2008, as shoulder problems would end his career at the age of 42. Glavine currently lives in Atlanta and is an occasional broadcaster for Braves' games.
Check back next week as Mets 101's All Star Memories series takes a look at right handed pitcher Pedro Martinez!
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